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HomeNewsProposed NCLGA resolution seeks $25/hr minimum wage for early childhood educators

Proposed NCLGA resolution seeks $25/hr minimum wage for early childhood educators

Williams Lake City Council will be considering at Tuesday’s regular meeting the submission of a resolution to the upcoming North Central Local Government Association AGM and Convention that calls for a minimum wage of $25 an hour for early childhood educators (ECE).

Economic Development officer Beth Veenkamp said the resolution came out of the work that has been going on in the community.

“We were funded a grant through UBCM and so we’ve been working on childcare plan for the community that would speak to the number of spaces that we project to need in the future,” she said. “What we found out is that there’s currently 47 empty daycare spots in Williams Lake because there is no staff to fill them, so our conclusion was while spaces are important getting qualified workers into these positions is probably more important because we could built spaces but we’re not going to have people to take the jobs.”

Veenkamp adds while they thought it was a case that there is no training available they heard from education providers that they can offer courses but they are not filling up. She said it is a three to four-semester commitment to get your early childhood educator credentials at a minimum cost of $12,000.

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“The $25/hr figure came from looking at different industries that are comparable so say healthcare workers, and what we’re trying to say with this wage is that the investment that one needs to make in early childhood education as a career path doesn’t match what your lifetime earning potential would be in that career, and so we have this lagging workforce issue and in order to get people interested in taking the education we have to give them a wage that’s going to make it worthwhile for them.”

The proposed resolution also seeks to lobby the provincial Ministry of Advanced Education, Skills and Training to address the gender-biased systems that place an unequal requirement on entrants into the ECE profession in comparison to other sectors, particularly when comparing to trades education.

“We’ve compared it to other labor force dependent industries and we used trades as an example,” Veenkamp said. “So if you take the trades stream of education there’s lots of incentives along the way for people to tackle those educations and there’s also things like labor mobility; once you have a red seal trade you can move anywhere across Canada and you use your ticket. What’s happening in this sector is that when you come to the province of B.C. you basically have to go through your whole credentialing process again, and so for the wage that ranges anywhere from $15 to $20/hr it’s just not worth it for people to make that investment.”

The full early childhood education plan will be presented to Williams Lake City Council on March 24th.

“This is one piece of that plan that’s really speaking to the lagging number of workers in the sector,” Veenkamp said.

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